March 15th, 2009
|02:22 pm - Help?|
At Terminus, I went to a workshop about getting published for the first time. One of the things that was clear to me was that there is no "Normal", at least, not in the sense that a lot aspiring writers think of. For example, a lot of us (fanficcers/slashers) have long thought that we should hide our fan work, even from the agents and publishers. that's not true. While you may want to password lock some of the adult stuff (just to avoid controversy), letting them know that you write HP fanfic, and you post fic to such-and-such popular archive or LJ Comm etc, says to them that you have an audience of X-number people who might buy your book b/c they know you/your work already, or if its not their thing they may suggest your work to their friends or kids etc, or that the HP Newsletters will announce a congrats (or online interview etc) to fanfic writer so-and-so who was recently published.
And forgive me, I don't know your specific disability, but depending on your comfortableness with discussing it (not necessarily in detail though), that too could be part of your promotion. Not that that has to be the focus of it, but if you send off a press release to people, that "overcoming the odds" spin is something that American media likes. Who is going to be more interesting for someone to interview for their newspaper article on new books, or tv show book spotlight?
1. Middle-class John Smith who wrote another formulaic book, or...
2. Jane Smith, who struggled against the world's messages that she wasn't 'good enough' because shes got a disability, and breaks through to accomplish her dream of sharing a story about...?
Sure, #1 might be published because formula sells, but #2 can also get published and widely reviewed because Westerners like personal success stories. (and one of my many dislikes about JKR, playing up her "oh I was poor and on welfare but now I'm living a fairy tale!" because she CHOSE to go on welfare for a short time to have time to write, knowing she'd have no trouble finding employment afterwards- as opposed to someone who didn't choose to be in that situation and had to actually struggle! Grrr)
You're right, though. It's about self-marketing. If all else fails, I can self-publish and self-market quite easily from the internet. Actually, quite a few authors have done their first few books that way recently.
I'm going to try the traditional routes first, but if not, well, I just want to tell a story. And if I can make a little money at it too, that's great. Even just having it up on a website and sticking a couple adds on the side, if you get enough hits, can make a sizeable amount of profit (especially considering the only expense is a website which is pretty cheap these days; no other publishing costs)
Oh, I'm definitely going to go for the traditional route before I try self-publishing. I'd be mad to do otherwise. But knowing that self-publishing is an ultimate option makes it a lot easier in my head to push on. Unfortunately, I just assume I'm going to meet prejudice, based on experience from the rest of my life. I'm also lucky enough to have savings from working before I got ill.
I agree with what you say about fanfic, it's increasingly seen as a valid CV/resume item. But, you know, I BLUSH. I value my pseudonymn for my fanfic - hardly any of it isn't NC-17. All the long stories are, the ones I get most hits for.
I would bloody hate being marketed for my disability, unless the book happened to be about that subject. I think what JKR has revealed about her life is valid. Harry is a poor kid who's treated badly because of it by his relatives. That touches on her own time without money. Her depression is covered in the books too, courtesy of the Dementors. Personally, I found it interesting to see the parallels.
I get that Westerners like success stories. But hah, only sometimes. Here in Britain they like kicking anyone who looks like they're having too good a time. I never want to be famous. This is why I'm going to publish under a pseudonymn (and already have).
I think honesty in background is ok- iow, yes, she went on welfare to write a book, yes she was depressed. Yes, maybe she learned something from those experiences and it can be seen in the books.
What I don't like is the spinning it for the media- making it look like she fought her way out of poverty... she didn't. She was born to a well to do middle class and didn't have to go on welfare if she didn't want to- she had opportunity and privilege. When the first book was printed, she was already gainfully employed again.
It's sort of like how when i was in high school (in an affluent neighbourhood) it was trendy to "urban plunge" (live like you were homeless for a weekend). Those kids knew the whole time that anytime they wanted to, they could go home, shower and eat. At least none of them claimed to write a book to get them out of the situation!
JKR knew she could go get a well paying middle-class job if welfare life got too tough for her. It's akin to if she had tied her hands behind her back, typed the book out with her toes, and claimed to have overcome the obstacles of her "physical disability", which, oh by the way, she is now "cured" of.
If I could write something as popular as HP, I could get off disability. And If I made just enough with a book to meet my basic needs and thus be self sufficient, it'd be an actual accomplishment. I didn't choose to get on it so that I could write, I don't have a job (well paying or otherwise) waiting for me when I'm done writing. Sorry for the rant. It hits close to home y'know.
"If I could write something as popular as HP, I could get off disability. And If I made just enough with a book to meet my basic needs and thus be self sufficient, it'd be an actual accomplishment."
I am so with you on that dream. That's all I want too - to get off stupid, dehumanising disability/illness benefits, where they prod and poke and insult you and tell you you're a liar and you have to take it, and actually do something! I don't really care how I do it, either. Writing is just a good option because it's non-physical and I don't want to make myself too sick in the process. Then I'd have to stop doing whatever it is, and that would be defeating the purpose.
Unfortunately it doesn't look like my book's happening any time soon, especially since I'm ill and have to write slowly. I can still keep persevering, though. It's better than twiddling my fingers. Although I do that too.